Post COVID-19 European Recovery
By Ingemar Pongratz
The European Council had a record long meeting late July 2020. This meeting focused on the future budget and on the Post COVID-19 European Recovery fund. The plans were known from the start. The European Commission together with several member states launched the suggestion to establish the European Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The initial suggestion was that the RRF would provide 750 Billion EUROs to boost European economies which have been hit hard by the pandemic. Of the 750 Billion EUR, 500 Billion would be provided as grants and the rest as loans. The European Council reached a compromise which would include 390 Billion EUR as grants and 360 Billion as loans.
The RRF aims to boost European economies and fuel Post COVID-19 European Recovery. In addition, the agreement includes references to Article 2 of the European Union Treaty. Article 2 highlights the democratic values for the EU namely “human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities”.
The RRF and Multiannual Financial Framework go together under the term New Generation EU.
The RRF will support a wide array of activities. The European Commission has provided some information regarding the different areas that will receive support from the RRF.
The bulk of the funds will support long term reform and investment, with a special focus on actions that mitigate climate change, promote societal digitalization and protect the environment.
Other areas that will receive financial support include the Horizon Europe Research and Innovation scheme, rural development across the EU. It is interesting to note that a rather small part of the RRF will support short term measures to support the labour market. Clearly, the RRF aims to invest funds into innovation across the European Union with long term vision and aims.
The RRF will start soon and the plan is that the member states will submit recovery and resilience plans to the European Commission until 2024. The submitted plans should be part of a coherent package with clear milestones. These milestones will be used to assess compliance and further payments. In addition, the RRF will include connections to article 2 of the Treaty, which highlights the rule of law and democratic principles.
The distribution of funds will follow clear guidelines. The RRF aims to support countries severely hit by COVID-19 and will integrate GDP (per capita) unemployment rates etc. This it is very likely that weaker EU economies will receive large portions of the grants of the FFR.
Member states may also ask for loans from the EEF. There will be guidelines in place to distribute the loans. Again, the Commission reiterates that milestones, respect towards Article 2 will be factors in the applications.
It will be interesting to follow the discussions that are currently ongoing.
Ingemar Pongratz is founder or Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting. Pongratz Consulting supports universities and enterprises to apply for funds from the EU. In addition, Ingemar Pongratz has launched Letavis AB, a research intensive SME that develops new services for the agricultural sector. Please use the online contact form to get in touch with us or send an email to:
ingemar.pongratz () pongratzconsulting.com